Henderson Hall Marines can get an arm up on passing the Corps' new physical fitness test by attending a pull-up class at the Cpl. Terry L. Smith Gymnasium on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.

"Doing the flex arm hang, you didn't really need to use that much muscle," said Sgt. Crystalee Munoz, Headquarters & Service Battalion, Headquarters Marine Corps, Henderson Hall. "Doing this forces you to gain that muscle and that strength, that upper body strength, which we never had anything like this before."

Munoz was one of more than a dozen Marines who attended the Feb. 25 class, which is being offered by Marine Corps Community Services Henderson Hall Semper Fit Division. During the session, fitness specialist Stephen La Jeunesse and Gunnery Sgt. Daniel Jackson demonstrated exercises such as weighted push ups, bicep curls and hammer curls that not only develop arm muscles but strengthen the body's core.

La Jeunesse and Jackson stressed that the key to building the upper body strength necessary for pull ups is more than about having muscular biceps and triceps. They also demonstrated exercises designed to strengthen back and shoulder muscles and used a suspension trainer which helps to strengthen the body's core. Resistance bands were also used to help participants work on their pull-up form.

All Marine Message 046/12 announced in late 2012 that pull-ups will replace the flex arm hang on the female physical fitness test in a little more than a year.

According to the message, which was signed by Marine Commandant Gen. James F. Amos, the changes will take place in two phases. The first phase began Jan. 1, 2013 and serves as a transition period that is intended to allow commanders and individual female Marines to adjust personal and unit training routines to prepare for the implementation of the new requirements, the message states.

During phase one of the implementation, the flex arm hang will remain a part of the initial strength test conducted in recruiting and when females arrive at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island and during physical fitness tests that are conducted during recruit training and as part of the selection process for officer candidates as well as PFTs taken during Officer Candidates School.

"During calendar year 2013 female Marines will have the option to choose pull-ups or the FAH on the PFT," the message states. "The score from the chosen event will be used in calculation of the official PFT score for all purposes."

Phase two begins Jan. 1, 2014, when pull-ups will replace the flex arm hang portion of the PFT. The FAH will continue to be a part of the initial strength test conducted in recruiting and at Parris Island.

"PFT's conducted in the officer selection process and during the inventory PFT at OCS will also include the FAH," the ALMAR reads.

Passing the PFT with pull-ups instead of the FAH will be a graduation requirement for recruits and officer candidates beginning Jan. 1, 2014, the message continues.

In order to pass the pull-up portion of the PFT, female Marines will be required to complete three pull-ups, which will garner them 40 points on the test. Four-pulls earn 65 points; five, 75; six, 85; seven, 95; and eight, 100 points. Designed especially for women, the pull-up classes are held Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (except for holidays) from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. All Department of Defense identification card holders are welcome to attend the clinic, and no advance registration is necessary. Call 703-693-9440 for more information.